Monday, 18 January 2016

What is ...Wiro Binding?

What is ...Number 25
Regular followers of this blog will know that in the middle of the month, I publish a "What is ....? post. The article covers various aspects of paper, printing and finishing in greater depth. However, many of these subjects are complex, so these posts are only intended to be a brief introduction to the topic.

What is ...Wire-O® Binding
Wire-O ® binding is a popular binding method where the text leaves are punched and held together in a closed metal 'ring' which allows for 360 degree rotation of the pages.

The term "Wire-O"® is actually a registered trademark of a company called James Burn International. Therefore everytime you use the word Wire-O ® it should have a little ® after it. To be honest, this ® thing is getting a bit boring and I'm pretty confident anyone reading this will now know that it is a registered trademark! I'm not using the little ® again! This type of binding is also referred to as twin loop wire, wirebind, double loop wire, ring wire and double-o. To the left is an example of a typical wire-o bound job.

Here is an image of a wire before it is closed to make a ring: 
The below image shows the 'join' when the ring has been closed. You can see the way the two ends "marry" together stopping the cover and text coming apart.  This 'seam' normally appears in the inside back cover.  
Wire-O can either be produced in an office on a 'desk-top' machine or commercially on large fully automated machines where the wires are fed on huge spools. Below is an example of a "desktop" type binding machine.
Firstly the paper must be punched - either with square or round holes. The punched pages are then placed onto the "C" shaped wire. When complete it is placed into the wire closer which squeezes the spine until it is round.

Now there is an important thing that is worth pointing out. There are two common hole patterns used for wiro. 3:1 pitch is 3 holes per inch is most commonly used for binding small sized documents between 2mm and 10mm thickness. Larger documents use 2:1 pitch which is 2 holes per inch. The physical wire is a different thickness. On the left there is an image showing A4 length wire. On the left hand side is a 3:1 pitch and on the right is a 2:1 pitch
Below is a practical demonstration of the difference between 3:1 and 2:1. It is a catalogue for artist Callum Innes at the Ikon Gallery. It was designed by Lucy Richards and printed by Summerhall Press and printed on Neptune Unique Softwhite in 1996. The catalogue on the left is 6mm thick and is bound using a 3:1 wire. The catalogue on the right is 14mm thick and uses a 2:1 wire.
Click on images to enlarge
Below is the birds eye view, showing the thicknesses and the wire.
Click on images to enlarge
One other thing that is worth pointing out here is that there are various styles that can be used to make the cover and text a bit more interesting!

Here is an example of a standard wire-o
Below is a style where the wire is concealed inside a spine in the cover and the wire is exposed on the outside back cover. This format is called a 'half canadian'
...and here is an example of a 'full canadian' where the wire is exposed on both the outside front and back cover
Below is a standard wiro, which has been bound on the end of an 8pp cover which then 'reverse folds' on itself therefore concealing the wire inside the spine.
There is a section in my Size|Format|Stock booklet which includes many of the formats for Wire-O binding. If you'd like one, just get in touch.
Posted by Justin Hobson 18.01.2016

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Thanks for your comment! If I like it, I'll add it on. Cheers J